A Medjugorje Gathering: Pilgims gathered at Caritas for the Five Days of Prayer participate in a joyful act of penance: the climb to Grotto La Pluie
Pictures below from the climb to the Grotto La Pluie, with those gathered at Caritas for the Five Days of Prayer.
There has always been a mountain in and around the sites of Our Lady’s apparitions throughout history. The mountains always have a level of difficulty for those who climb them. There is a purpose behind this. Our Lady often requests of us in Her Medjugorje messages to open our hearts. One means She uses to help us with this is through doing acts of penance. When we overcome our own desires, get out of our comfort zones, and perform a penance out of love for God, grace is given that penetrates the hardness of a calloused heart. This is the reason why more people write to us after our five days of prayer and express how much joy they experienced from climbing to Our Lady’s grotto. First, they are surprised to find that they were able to climb the mountain, and second, having succeeded, they are so happy to have been able to give this sacrifice to Our Lady. In doing so, Our Lady gives them the grace of an open heart that is able to receive God’s love without a hindrance.
Not quite a year after Our Lady’s first apparitions to Medjugorje visionary Marija, in the valley where Caritas is located, on September 1, 1989, the founder of Caritas along with a small group of family and friends, climbed a mountain overlooking the valley. Their purpose in gathering was to consecrate the entire valley to Our Lady—giving it to Her for Her plans and desires to be realized. There was low cloud coverage that day, and they found themselves hiking through the clouds to get to the top of the mountain. Once at the top, they could see nothing but mist below them. The valley was hidden from view, a very rare occurrence. With them on this day was a special prayer of consecration that had been written on this same day by the founder, and would be recited for the first time after the Rosary. At the point that the prayer was prayed, in one single location, the mist broke a part revealing a small section of the valley below. Everyone gathered that day was filled with awe when they grasped that the clouds had opened to give a clear view of the Field where Our Lady had appeared to Marija on November 24, 1988. It was a clear sign to all of them that Our Lady was present and accepting their prayer for this valley. This is one of many reasons why we climb the mountain and pray a Rosary overlooking Our Lady’s valley every December 8-12. To read the prayer of consecration, that has been recited in the Field everyday at Rosary time since September 1, 1989, by the Caritas Community, click here for the Prayer for the Abode of God.
A father and his small sons make their way down the mountain after the prayer. Caritas is all about family. Beginning with the founder, the way of the Caritas Community, as taught through Our Lady’s Medjugorje messages, is that children are to be a part of our lives in all that we do. When working in the mission, all the Community children know they have priority. If they have a need, everything is dropped to meet that need—from changing a diaper, to getting a snack, to mopping up tears, to sometimes just stopping to get a hug. At the same time, they are also trained from an early age to participate in the work of the mission. Working side by side the adults is a joy for children who like to rise up to the expectations of adults in the responsibilities being asked of them. This builds not only the development of a variety of skills, but also self-esteem and the feeling of belonging to something bigger than themselves. This is a strong contrast to the way youth are led in today’s culture in which so many find no meaning to life and are disillusioned to the point of self-destruction. It is why Our Lady said in 1989: “…I again ask you to pray for all the young people of the world because they find themselves in a difficult situation…” Our Lady in Medjugorje has come to show them, as well as all people of the world, a better way.